Please note that the following is a continuation from yesterday’s Blog post.

Axiom Number 2: When You Come To a Fork in the Road, Take It

If a hotel/resort or intermediary offer the same product, at the same price but at different travel affiliate commission levels, it stands to reason that travel affiliates follow ‘the booking path’ that brings the highest commission. But what happens when that ‘path’ looks the same regardless of which ‘man is standing behind the curtain’? Again, a little due diligence is in order here.

Take a look at the following seemingly identical 4 days/ 3nights resort package offered by four top travel suppliers – SuperClubs, Funjet Tours, CheapCaribbean and Travelocity – for SuperClub’s family resort, the Starfish Trelawny, Jamaica (note each package is for two adults traveling from New York – JFK to Montego Bay, June 20 – June 23, and 4 days/ 3nights stay at the resort in a room with a mountain view), and how they compare both to each other as well as to the overall SuperClubs chain-wide  promotion offered by these four different online booking sources:

  • From SuperClubs’ website:

    Package priced by SuperClubs: $1,505 total price for selected ‘Room and Air’ options

    Travel Affiliate Commission: N/A

    Compare the package cost to SuperClubs’ Current Web Promotion:

    “SAVE UP TO 50% when you book your Summer getaway by June 12th. Super-Inclusive means everything’s included; accommodations, meals, drinks, activities and more. And at SuperClubs, tipping is never allowed. Book now. Rates starting at just $69.

    Book by June 12th for travel June15th – September 30 to take advantage of these incredible savings. Blackout dates and restrictions apply. See below for complete details”

  • From Funjet Vacations’ website: Package priced by Funjet: $1,566.58 total price for all travelers includes flights, hotel, certain taxes & services and included values.Travel Affiliate Commission: 5% net commission on completed vacation bookingsCompare the package cost to Funjet’s Current Publicized Promotion with SuperClubs:

    “Funjet Vacations is offering specially priced Caribbean packages designed to capitalize on increased interest in the Caribbean. The offers coupled with aggressive airfare prices enable vacationers to buy a three-night Caribbean vacation at an all-inclusive resort from $429.99.

    SuperClubs Hotels & Resorts is the cornerstone of the sale, with an offer only available with Funjet Vacations. Travelers who book five or more nights in 2009 will receive two free nights in 2010.

    The offer is available at SuperClubs Breezes (except Breezes Montego Bay), Grand Lido, Hedonism or Starfish Trelawny all-inclusive properties in Jamaica, Nassau or Curacao. Jamaica and Punta Cana hotels are offering a variety of savings, including kids stay free, up to $200 resort credit and complimentary room upgrades.

    Funjet is making similar offers in Nassau, Aruba, Puerto Plata, St. Thomas, Grand Cayman and St. Lucia. Funjet is also offering ‘buy one, get one free’ tours and excursions in Aruba, Grand Cayman, Nassau, Puerto Plata, Punta Cana and San Juan.”

  • From CheapCaribbean’s website:

    Package priced by CheapCaribbean: $1392.26 for all travelers, not including applicable airline, government, and departure tax and service charges. Please click ‘select’ to continue and total tax & service charges will be calculated and shown at check out.

    Travel Affiliate Commission: 5% commission whenever visitors from your Web site book our hotel or vacation package inventory

    Compare the package cost to CheapCaribbean’s Current Publicized Promotion With SuperClubs:

    “Save Up to 55% on SuperClubs 3 Nights From $439 with Air! Starfish Trelawny, Jamaica 3 Nights starting at $439.00 per person! Was: $999 Travel.

Vacation at the world’s only Super-Inclusive Resorts with unbelievable prices during the ‘SuperClubs Spring & Summer Super Savings’ event. Hotel, air, meals, beverages & activities are included with every package.  Add nights at our exclusive discounted prices! Every reservation comes with weather insurance and a $100 off coupon if it rains on your vacation!”

  • From Travelocity’s website:

    Packaged priced by Travelocity: $1,464 includes Flight + Hotel, Taxes & Fees

    Travel Affiliate Commission: 5% commission of the net gross sales on completed online transactions; Earn up to 3% of the net gross sales for offline sales (phone bookings).

    Starfish Trelawny All Inclusive (Future Breezes) from $704 per person, includes flight + 3 nights hotel, taxes & fees, on sale now. In the style of SuperClubs Resorts, the Starfish Trelawny offers the all-inclusive experience for the whole family.”

    Travelocity does not currently have a special publicized promotion with SuperClubs

Based on the comparison above, despite being the only ‘Man Behind The Curtain’ that doesn’t have a special promotion with SuperClubs, Travelocity offers the travel consumer the best price at $1,464, while CheapCaribbean’s base price of $1392.26, once all fees, service charges and taxes are added to the net cost of their package, turns out to be the most expensive (we estimate their all-in pricing at well over $1,600); SuperClubs’ and Funjet’s package pricing of $1,505 and $1,566.58 respectively, place them in between .

As Travelocity, Funjet and CheapCaribbean each pay 5% for an online booking generated by a travel affiliate, apart from the obvious fact that they offer the lowest price to travel consumers, we’d argue that in this instance Travelocity would also be the best booking channel for travel affiliates to use.  To be sure, based on Travelocity’s lower package price, the travel affiliate loses a couple of dollars in affiliate commission; however, that is far outweighed by the customer goodwill and loyalty the travel affiliate will have gained as a result of their steering their customers to the ‘best priced / best value’ booking source.

This then leads us to our last maxim…

Axiom Number 3: All’s Fair in Love and War

Not that TravelDividends is advocating deceitful business practices; actually, it’s just the opposite – we believe that in today’s business world, you have to look-out for your best interest, as others may be less than forthcoming in their business practices in order to achieve their objectives.

So, in closing, a little due diligence goes a long way to assuring you work with the best travel vendors; steering your customer’s booking to the travel supplier that is in your customer’s best interest is also in your best interest; and a never-ending monitoring of your (and your travel vendors’) competitive environment should help to safeguard and grow your business.  We hope this comparative exercise with the Caribbean travel vendors helps to illuminate the benefits travel affiliates will gain by practicing these strategies.

How about you?  What are your thoughts to today’s post? Let us know whether you agree with our thinking – or not.  Pop us an email at TravelDividends with your views, take-aways and experiences. As always, we appreciate your feedback. Thanks!